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Cyrano at the Folger Shakespeare Library

USA | Sunday, 5 June 2011 | Views [817]

Eric Hissom as Cyrano. Carol Pratt for the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Eric Hissom as Cyrano. Carol Pratt for the Folger Shakespeare Library.

For some D.C. culture I would highly recommend the Folger Shakespeare Library (which also doubles as a theater). Located centrally on Capitol Hill near the Supreme Court and a short walk away from the Capitol Building this is a place worth popping into - which is exactly what I did last night to see Cyrano de Bergerac.


As you step into the visitor doors you find yourself transported into a different world, one of class, culture, literature, and fiscal acumen. By that I mean you walk into a darkened hallway and meet the stone visage of Pan in front of the theater entrance with small and discrete displays of pleasing architectural and aesthetic décor. Turning to your right is a long hallway full of Shakespeare’s first folios with informative notes on not only Folger himself, the man who started this library, but also the history of Shakespeare’s works and how they came to be in this day and age with some priceless book carefully displayed behind glass cases.


The play itself that I went to, Cyrano, utilized typical historical costumes interspersed with more modern language to bring the dialogue home and thrust in some modern cultural references for laughs. But it definitely worked and not only did not deter from the play but added to my enjoyment of it because I could easily understand what was being spoken about without having to interpret and translate ye olde English. I found the actors to be of the highest caliber and Cyrano himself was brilliant and full of panache. This was a great experience for me. The theater itself was a mini- homage to the Old Globe Theater full of wood, balustrades, and careful painted walls. The show itself – a couple of hours long – absolutely flew by with nary a dull moment, the acting was fantastic, and overall I had a fantastic time.


My only problem was that I was second row aisle seat and spent the whole show craning my head upwards to see the action leaving me with a pained neck and mini-headache by the end of the show so I might next time find myself a balcony seat so as to look down rather than up on the action. But still, I am not complaining. Well worth the money spent for tickets.


I highly recommend you check out the library and grab yourself tickets for one of their upcoming shows. Unfortunately Cyrano ends in a week or two so you might find yourself at a different show. I’m not a huge fan of tragedies so I’m going to skip out on Othello and I’m waffling on seeing The Gaming Table which I have never heard of before but I’ll definitely be back for The Taming of the Shrew next summer. There is always an exhibition going on and lectures come and go as well so you can keep coming back to see new perspectives on Shakespearian-era literature.


Happy theatering – and maybe I’ll see you there!


More information about the Folger Shakespeare Library can be found here: http://www.folger.edu/whatson.cfm

Tags: library, shakespeare, theater, tourist, washington d.c.



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